Five Minue Friday (and some) : What Mama DidPosted: February 22, 2013
I cheated a little on this week’s Five Minute Friday… I actually wrote for 15 (I know, way too long) and then a few minutes putting in photos. I wanted to tell the story properly though, my mama deserves that.
This weeks Topic was : What Mama Did …
a memory of what our mama’s did to make them ours.
I’m in a crowded dressing room, full of tutu’s and barres. Hairspray filling the air, counts of 1, 2, 3 and 4, pounding in my ears. I bend down and touch my toes, rising I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, practice slippers on my feet, slender legs rising up from them, I wonder if they will do what I require of them today. I look at myself and laugh, what a sight I look. Beautiful white satin tutu, with warm up leggings, and a dressing gown covering it all. I sink into the splits, I am young, just a child, but it doesn’t take away the nerves. I take a deep breath as I rotate around onto the other leg.
I hear my name called I pick myself off the ground and hurry over to the doorway. A chaperone meets me and takes me to make-up and hair. It’s just a dress rehearsal but everything must be perfect, they will film and photograph during this session. I sit in front of the mirror as they comb my hair and put it up piece by piece. Scrapping it tight, spraying it heavily to ensure it does not move, not even a millimeter. She places her hand on my small face and smooths the skin. They are not used to one so young, so small. She smiles at me. I’m only a child and I can’t contain my fears, my lips tremble and the tears roll down my cheeks. She pulls my chin up and I look into the mirror. What catches my eye is not my own reflection, it’s behind me, it’s my mama.
She knows how much I hate having my make-up done, she knows how worried the talk of my pale skin makes me, she knows how I hate strangers being close up in my face. She arrives, as if by magic, at exactly the right time. She walks over and tells the lady that she will do my make-up, she can check it afterwards. She kneels in front of my chair and takes me hands. they are tiny in hers, half the size. She wipes away my tears, and looks deep into my eyes. “You’re beautiful my girl, just the way you are.” I smile a mama’s words are always the sweetest. “We just need to add a little bit of make-up so people can still see your beauty under those bright lights.” I nod, “ok”. Gently she rubs on foundation and sweeps the blusher across my cheeks. She asks me to close my eyes and kisses me on the nose before applying the eyeshadow and mascara. She never once mentions the paleness of my skin compared to theirs, because to her it is beauty. She goes in search of a tiny lip brush, but never makes a deal out of it, she returns triumphant and brushes lip stain and lip stick over my thin thin baby lips. She hands me a tissue, I know what to do, I bite down on it and she repeats the routine. She looks at me and smiles “All done.” She calls over the make-up artist who closely inspects me, my mama kneels beside me and hold my hand tight as the other lady makes minor adjustments. It’s finished. I go back to my dressing room and continue to warm up.
My mama leaves me there, she knows I am safe, she knows I will be fine now, although the butterflies still flutter in my stomach, and the nerves still jitter in my bones. She goes and waits in the auditorium, patiently waiting for her baby girl to appear on the stage. Eventually they call my name, outside the door my chaperone is waiting with my duo. He smiles at me “Ready?” He’s all grown up and used to this, I smile feintly, “I think so”. We walk the maze of corridors of this big theatre, and he talks me over and over what will happens. He reassures me that if they stop us it isn’t bad, that they might just want photos, or to reshoot the video. I nod. We arrive in the wings. I hear the music start, he grabs my hand and we’re off, running onto the stage, leaping, and turning. The stage is so big and my little legs strrugle to get me from one point to another. But all others feelings have dissolved, the music felling my ears, the exhilaration of dancing on that stage, the utter trust in his ability, nothing else matters. We repeat a few times, we stop, we start, we pose, my small child’s body aches.
It’s lunchtime and my mama is there, knocking on my dressing room window. I run out to meet her. My tiny body exhausted, but still enough energy to run into a mama’s embrace. “Quick get changed I’m taking you out for lunch before tonight’s performance.” I run back inside and pull on my jeans and a sweater over my tights and camisole. She carries me down the street knowing how tired my legs must be, and knowing that I must do it all again in a few hours, only better. She takes me to my favourite place. The fast-food place with burgers, and fries, and icecream deserts. I take a bite of my cheeseburger and eat a few fries, before exhaustion gets the better of me. I curl up on the bench and rest my head on her arm. She sighs, she knows the routine well. My body needs the sustenance but I am too tired to feed it. She knows there is no point fighting it, she knows that right now rest is more important. Tonight she will fight me to eat food. For now she allows me to rest on her, she lifts her hand and strokes my face. “You are so beautiful my girl.” I sigh with the weight of her affirmation. “You danced spectacularly, you’re my little ballerina.” She knows right now I need words of encouragement not of criticism, so she speaks the good and leaves out the bad. Her thoughts are affirmed by my response “But what if I can’t do it later? What if my legs won’t work? What if I forget?” “You’re a ballerina, your leg will remember even if your mind forgets. When you dance the audience melts.” It’s all I need to hear and I close my eyes and let myself drift into sleep.
That was my mama, I was only 5 years old that time, but I remember.Patient waiting, unending encouragement, taking an interest, loving away my fears, I remember.
For years she continued the same routine. She continues the theme to this day. Cheering me on, from a distance now. Telling me I am able, telling me I am beautiful, loving away my fears.